Compass Health opens in Marksville

Crowley-based Compass Health has opened a Marksville location, company officials announced.

Located at 137 Dr. Childress Drive, the facility is an 18-bed psychiatric inpatient facility as well as an outpatient department that can serve about 50 patients per day. It offers confidential mental health treatment for nearby residents.

Compass Health founder and Chairman Mark J. Cullen announced the move last fall.

“We’ve been looking forward to this day for quite some time now,” said Cullen. “A lot of things had to come together in the last couple of years to make this a reality; and we’re so thankful that they did.

“When we were planning this facility, we really tried to walk in the shoes of someone who would be seeking care here. The location, the setting, the design — it’s all in an effort to increase safety and privacy and, in turn, better clinical outcomes.”

The inpatient and outpatient care will be under the medical direction of Dr. Charles Bramlet, who has served Avoyelles Parish and central Louisiana for over two decades. Dr. Elizabeth Taylor is associate psychiatric medical director.

The facility will employ 34.

Compass Health has 20 psychiatric centers in central and south Louisiana, serving more than 9,000 patients annually. 

Natural Grocers to open Lafayette store

Natural Grocers will open its Parc Lafayette store at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, store officials said. 

The Colorado-based specialty supermarket chain will mark its first store opening in Louisiana with gift bags and chances to win prizes when the store opens. Work crews have overhauled the space, which is located at 1925 Kaliste Saloom Road in the former location of The Chandelier Room. 

The store specializes in natural and organic groceries and dietary supplements whose products meet strict quality guidelines, according to a company bio. 

The store will employ about 20 full- and part-time positions. 

Policy center director named to state panel

Stephen Barnes, the founding director of the Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Public Policy Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is the newest member of the state’s income forecasting panel.

Barnes’ appointment to the Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference was announced by UL officials. Other committee members include the governor, Senate president and House speaker. The panel determines multiyear income projections used to create the state budget.

Barnes is only the second person to hold the independent economist slot on the committee since its inception in 1987. He replaces LSU economics professor Jim Richardson, who announced his retirement last year.

Other finalists for the position were: Gary Wagner, Acadiana business economist with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Moody College of Business; and Gregory B. Upton Jr., who analyzes economic policy issues in the energy industry at the LSU Center for Energy Studies.

Barnes joined LSU’s Department of Economics in 2009 and was director of the university’s Economics and Policy Research Group. In August, he became director of the Blanco Center, which houses Blanco’s gubernatorial papers, and contributes interdisciplinary, independent research to a host of public policy areas.

Investar Bank to open second location

Baton Rouge-based Investar Bank will open a second Lafayette location later this year with a branch at 900 E. St. Mary Blvd.

The company, which also has a location at 4004 Ambassador Caffery Parkway and three others in Acadiana, will renovate the space and plans to open it by the end of the year. The space has high visibility and traffic count in this area of the city, officials said.

"We’re committed to the community and look forward to providing more convenience to our customers with this new location as well as the opportunity to add new customers," said Robert Lott, Investar's Acadiana market president.

Said Jeff Blum, C&I banking president with Investar: “By adding this new location on East St. Mary, we expand our reach into the heart of Lafayette. We’ll be conveniently located to the Oil Center, Medical District, UL and downtown. The new branch will be fully-staffed with highly experienced, local bankers. Also, our litigation finance team will be moving to this new location to be more centrally located to their clients.”

Investar Bank converted to a national bank charter in July and has acquired other banks in Louisiana and Texas in recent years. Along with locations in Mamou, Pine Prairie and Ville Platte, it has 24 locations across south Louisiana and Texas with plans to add more by the close of 2019.

Business assistance program recognized

The Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was recognized by Gov. John Bel Edwards for its success in assisting state businesses to obtain local, state and federal government contracts.

LA PTAC experts help businesses determine whether they are eligible for contracts, guide them through the bidding process and help them manage contracts. Since 2009, it has advised 12,944 businesses, conducted 561 seminars and assisted Louisiana-based businesses in securing 35,986 government contracts worth $4.4 million while helping create or sustain 44,000 jobs.

LA PTAC is a cooperative effort among the U.S. Department of Defense, Louisiana Economic Development and UL. Its state administrative office is in the LITE Center and oversees four subrecipient centers in Louisiana.

Ramesh Kolluru, UL's vice president for research, innovation and economic development, credited Edwards and LED Secretary Don Pierson “for recognizing the university’s commitment to economic development through LA PTAC.”

He praised “the entire LA PTAC staff for their passion in assisting our businesses in bringing more federal dollars into Louisiana, including Sherrie Mullins, who recently retired as LA PTAC director, and Cindy Carrier, a senior procurement consultant.”

Kolluru also credited current and former UL presidents Joseph Savoie and Ray P. Authement for their commitment to the center, which was launched 30 years ago.

“This recognition is a testament to how a long-standing, collective vision at a research university can drive economic development,” he said.

Levena Action Sports to open store

The owners of Levena Paintball Center in Duson will open a 1,100-square foot store at 2100 Verot School Road in Lafayette in the Bridge Plaza Shopping Center Nov. 13.

Co-owner Laura Parcells, who owns the store and the paintball center with her husband Damien, said they decided to open Levena Action Sports after owning the paintball center in Duson for over eight years because they love paintball and have been wanting to open a dedicated store for some time.

"We're so excited about paintball and we want to grow the sport, and I'm glad we'll finally be able to do this," she said. "I think the people in Lafayette will love it."

The store caters mostly to paintball and skateboarding aficionados, selling paintball rifles, paintballs, air refills, masks and other equipment from beginner to advanced. Parcells said they will have child-sized equipment and low-impact paintball guns.

Levena will also carry items for skateboarders and will assemble customized boards. It will also carry one-wheeled electric skateboards.

Aspire Behavioral Health expanding

Just three years after opening its Oil Center location, Aspire Behavioral Health Center expanded to a second location at 3305 W. Pinhook Road.

Dr. Joslyn McCoy developed an Applied Behavior Analysis program for therapy and started her own practice at 132 Demanade Blvd in 2016. The new facility, which opened Sept. 23, will house two psychologists, a licensed practical counselor, two speech therapy groups and one occupational therapy group.

Aspire Acadiana bought the 9,200-square-foot facility on July 1 for $665,000, court records show.

"What's unique about what we're doing is that we're an interdisciplinary behavioral health care provider," McCoy said. "Especially for children with special needs, it can be difficult to bring them to one specialist, then another and another. We're the only one who can offer all those service lines in two locations and coordinate care between all providers."

The new office will lower the burden on families of having to go to so many locations for care and will also speed up the bureaucratic processes.

The Behavorial Health Center of Excellence, an international accrediting body that measures consensus standards for autism and Applied Behavior Analysis service providers, certified Aspire on July 16. 

Aspire has over 21,000-square-feet, along with 60 employees and seven licensed behavioral analysts.

Recruiting event set for Perficient

A technology recruiting event sponsored by local and state agencies is being held from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m Oct. 10 at Perficient Inc. Lafayette Delivery Center at 538 Jefferson St.

Perficient is seeking to fill more than 70 positions with entry-level and experienced IT professionals to expand software development services in Lafayette. The positions include QA consultants, ETL/data consultants and technical consultants, including software developers and solution architects. Parking will be available at the Vermilion Street parking garage located at 121 E. Vermilion St.

LED FastStart, the state's workforce development program, is working in partnership with the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and Louisiana Workforce Commission to support the event.

Advance registration is at

Coastal symposium planned Oct. 17-18

The third annual Louisiana Geological Survey Coastal Symposium is being held Oct. 17-18 in the Dalton J. Woods Auditorium at the LSU Energy, Coast & Environment Building, 93 S. Quad Drive, in Baton Rouge.

The event is presented by Louisiana Geological Survey and New Orleans Geological Society.

Scientists, engineers, geographers and policy makers from across the range of geoscience-related disciplines will exchange ideas, interpretations and insights into Louisiana's coastal geology, both onshore and offshore, and on associated topics.

This year's focus will be on coastal geoscience, specifically including coastal geology, geophysics, geomorphology and geography.

Credit hours will be available for licensed geologists. An ethics presentation will satisfy the Louisiana annual ethics requirements for licensed geologists and licensed engineers.

Information and registration are at

Energy Summit challenges paradigms

Energy Summit 2019 is being held Oct. 23 in the Dalton J. Woods Auditorium at the LSU Energy, Coast & Environment Building, 93 S. Quad Drive, in Baton Rouge.

Challenging Traditional Paradigms is the theme of the summit. Registration starts at noon, with the event at 1 p.m. A reception will follow from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Topics include new policy directions in electricity; new directions in containing methane emissions at the wellhead; the Austin Chalk and the future of Louisiana crude oil production; grid-scale solar development in MISO South; and trends in battery storage.

Continuing education credits and professional development hours will be available for various organizations. Some groups receive discount registration. Information and registration are at

Applicants sought for Leadership Academy

The Pelican Institute's Leadership Academy is accepting applications until Oct. 15 being facilitated in Baton Rouge, meeting monthly over a 9-month period of time with a summer break.

The program is designed to inform, educate and connect emerging and experienced leaders in Louisiana about some of our state’s biggest assets and most daunting challenges. Participants — representing a range of industries in the private and public sectors — graduate with tools necessary to grow as thought leaders in their respective professions, the institute says. The program will cover leadership and ethics training, free market public policy training, understanding the legislative process and demystifying the campaign process.

Information and applications are at